1. MrStoryTeller
    Offline

    MrStoryTeller Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4

    Why are your villains, villains?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MrStoryTeller, Sep 16, 2015.

    So without making anyone give away their entire villain backstory, why does your main villain do what s/he does? I'm just curious to see how everyone has written theirs. I have some very thought out villains for some of my scripts, but none of my novels have good developed villains so far.
     
    saurabh misra likes this.
  2. Lady Marmalade
    Offline

    Lady Marmalade Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada
    Hee hee hee... oh boy my favourite characters :-D

    Don't get me wrong, I love my main character like I love oxygen but I have a different kind of love for my villain in that he's pretty fascinating (well to me at least).

    I wouldn't say he's a "bad guy" because technically his actions aren't entirely bad. I love making grey villains so he has his reasons for what he does and also a very tragic backstory to support his line of thinking.

    Well without further a due, here's my main villain of the hour!

    He is your typical classy villain, he's very polite and proper, wears a suit, wields a rapier, and is very calm and collected even in stressful situations. However despite his charm and class he is a pure-blooded misanthrope. He believes humanity is doomed (and there's a very good reason for why he thinks this but I can't give it away) and is doing his best to correct humanity by implementing rules that he thinks will make the world better. If anyone tries to argue against his rules he thinks that they're just succumbing to their human weakness of wanting violence and bloodshed and will promptly arrest/torture them for trying to screw with the system.

    As you can see, this is your classic 1984 scenario but instead of hiding his face he's very much out in the open about who he is and regularly talks about how humans are wild savages that need to be tamed. It's less political and more "humanitarian" because he's not doing it for power, he's doing it because he genuinely believes he's doing the right thing by being a control freak of society.

    Anyway that's just my guy, I wish you the best of luck with creating your villain. In my opinion, just go crazy... no seriously go crazy, villains are at their best when the author doesn't hold back and just digs into their dark psychology and warped logic.

    Go nuts! :bigtongue:
     
  3. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,088
    Likes Received:
    672
    My best villain sort of is suffering from PTSD.

    He does what he does in order to gain enough power to destroy what he considers is the ultimate evil. Which considering what he has seen is sort of a valid view. The creature he is preparing to fight is strong enough to rip planets apart(Like how I might rip an orange apart.) In addition most people to ever see it die. He is one of the few strong enough survive an attack from it. So, he thinks it is his burden. To do what it takes to stop it for everyone else. Yet in his quest to stop the bad guy he sort of becomes the bad guy.

    I call him my best villain because I think he leaves more of an emotional impact. I got some that are just assholes. Which can be fun. Watching an asshole villain get kicked is satisfiying but the villain that you go "Damn, he wanted to be good. He tried so hard. He just made a mistake. Imagine how awesome the world would have been if he didn't make a mistake? I mean if I were him I can see myself making that mistake too so it is hard to fault him." Villains like that are a lot more memorable. Asssholes are a dime a dozen.

    @Lady Marmalade so does my guy fit the gray area? lol
     
  4. Lady Marmalade
    Offline

    Lady Marmalade Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Canada
    Oh yeah, to the letter. :agreed:

    He sounds very intriguing, I can't imagine what kind of cosmic horrors the guy has been through. I mean if I was attacked by a plant destroying creature I'd probably go a lil' nutty too. I can barely handle Monday mornings, let alone Cthulhu.

    I totally agree about the crazy asshole villains. I mean I love a good asshole getting his comeuppance, but it's definitely harder to make a "sympathetic villain" because of the balance between justifying and vilifying their actions. I think a really well done sympathetic villain is one who I can see myself becoming if given similar circumstances. This can become a very powerful character because not only do they provide a lot of depth and weight to their actions but they help us recognize those fatal flaws within ourselves which teaches us to grow as people and learn from their mistakes. That's one of my favourite qualities to stories, teaching valuable morals, showing us different perspectives and exploring world issues. All that good mushy stuff ;)

    Now I want to state that I don't think all villains should be done this way. There are stories that suit a sympathetic villain and stories where they feel out of place. Sometimes it's best just to have a crazy asshole and there's no shame in that. There are a ton of villains that I adore who are just plain evil/insane and get their kicks from cracking jokes at the hero's expense.

    I think the most important aspects to a villain (in my opinion) is that they move the story forward and have a clear motivation to their actions. The motive doesn't have to be sympathetic, but there needs to be a reason why Stabby McMurder wants to drown kittens. It could just be that he's allergic and hates allergy medicine, so the "logical" conclusion is to kill all the cats. That's a really dumb example but hopefully you get the idea, for me I'm happy as long as the villain has a motivation and moves the story along. Anything extra is like icing on the arsenic cake, and that's awesome!

    Yeah sorry I went on a tangent there, I just meant to pop in and say you had a great villain... oops :ohno:
     
    MrStoryTeller and GuardianWynn like this.
  5. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    My antagonists are mostly internal. The main person-antagonist doesn't think he's a villain at all. He just thinks he's entitled to women's bodies if he wants them and asks nicely - the classic "nice guy until you turn me down for a date" - and then he needs to humiliate the woman who rejected him in order to repair his bruised ego.
     
  6. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,220
    Likes Received:
    4,227
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    One of them is doing this because she feels like she's been betrayed and kicked around by society for far too long, and this final betrayal, by someone she once considered dear to her was the last straw. She plans to destroy this other character's life and home just as hers was destroyed. She sums it up quite nicely, "I'm evil? No. We're both evil, I'm just more honest about it." She is tired of her former friend (who is, at most, an anti-hero) justifying her deeds like it were something a hero would do and she wants to prove to the whole world that they both are unrepentantly evil by resurrecting evil gods and destroying whole cities. Nevermind that the anti-hero actually kind of wants to start over again and live a life of peace. She has a very black-white mentality, but deep down, beneath that horrible layer of cruelty is a woman who had been kicked one too many times and had decided to be the monster they think she really is. In her head anyway.
     
  7. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,246
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Australia
    Human nature is my villain
     
  8. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,810
    Likes Received:
    7,333
    Location:
    Scotland
    It's a pretty formidable one as well. Difficult to change.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  9. ToeKneeBlack
    Offline

    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2014
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    207
    My villain feels betrayed and humiliated by the medical councils which rejected his ideas. He looks at the wider devastation that humans are inflicting upon the earth, and decides that humanity is not worthy of his inventions - nor are they worthy of the planet upon which they live.
     
    Witchymama and MrStoryTeller like this.
  10. Kata_Misashi
    Offline

    Kata_Misashi Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    50
    My (main) villain basically feels that his fate was to die when he was young but with a miracle, survived. Never wanting to be a slave to fate yet again, he does what he wants to with little care for others. Brash, rude, vulgar, and some-what crazy, I portrayed him to be sort of a punk... a very 'strong' punk ^^;
     
    Witchymama and MrStoryTeller like this.
  11. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    2,416
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    What does 30 people with greedy, power hungry/mad, screw the peasants and everyone else count as? Not very original in design, but still effective. They would don't care what they do to anyone or anything, as long as they maintain control and profit. Indoctrinating the military as an extension to their arm of power along with robotic forces. Politics are a little sketchy considering politicians are mere puppets. With a varying of personas from psychopaths to straight up serial killers, with every other screwed up personality in between.
     
    Witchymama and MrStoryTeller like this.
  12. X Equestris
    Offline

    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    307
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    The main villain of the novel I've been plotting is motivated by love for his homeland. He's a member of the ruling mage aristocracy, and is disgusted with his peers behavior. His homeland has been in a long, bloody war, yet much of the aristocracy is content to bicker amongst themselves. Another thing he hates about his homeland is the slavery that forms the basis of its economy and religion. So he comes up with a plan to reform his homeland.

    Where he becomes a villain is in the details of his plan. In order to carry out his reforms, he needs an army to overthrow the old government and keep him in power. So he makes a deal with a powerful demon: in exchange for letting them into the physical world, the powerful demon and its minions will work for him. For this reason, he decides to kidnap a mage child, who has some very rare powers, and use him to summon the army of demons. The child will die when he's possessed by the lead demon.

    So basically, while he has an admirable goal, it's the means he uses that make him a villain.

    Another recent idea I had, for a Western Fantasy, features a group of cattle barons as the villains. It's inspired by the Johnson County War. In my story, the three cattle barons hire fifty outlaws, bounty hunters, and unemployed cowboys, with the official aim of ending "rustling". Two of the cattle barons legitimately believe that. The other, who's the ringleader, intends to use the hired guns eliminate small time farmers and ranchers, as well as his political opponents. He's mostly motivated by greed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  13. Lyrical
    Offline

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Messages:
    376
    Likes Received:
    257
    A very difficult relationship with his indifferent father growing up has led to some serious rage issues, a strong inferiority complex, and a deeply-rooted need for validation. Add to that a touch of madness caused by the slow, medical deterioration of the mind, and that's why he does what he does.
     
    Witchymama and MrStoryTeller like this.
  14. OurJud
    Offline

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    Messages:
    2,028
    Likes Received:
    942
    Location:
    England
    Simple. My villain does what he does because I needed an antagonist. That's it.
     
  15. ManOrAstroMan
    Offline

    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Messages:
    817
    Likes Received:
    342
    Location:
    Missouri
    The villain of my current project is akin to a religious fanatic, whose entire sense of empathy and proportion has been warped beyond recognition by years of psychological manipulation.
     
  16. Shattered Shields
    Offline

    Shattered Shields Gratsa!

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2015
    Messages:
    415
    Likes Received:
    272
    Location:
    Athagora
    All of my villains are non polar. They're not evil, they're just trying for a different set of goals than the protagonist is. My big bad, well, technically there's four of them, they're only trying to destroy the world because they believe it to be their purpose and calling.
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  17. TheApprentice
    Offline

    TheApprentice Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Messages:
    1,198
    Likes Received:
    154
    One villain lost a great deal of power and acts as an antagonist for most of the story, though actually works to help out the protag group in the end.

    There is a group of villains, a faction, and every member's reasons vary. Some are afraid of the supernatural and want to feel more at peace by destroying them, others do it for religious reasons, some had loved ones killed by a vampire/mage/demon.

    Then there is a corrupt corporation, not every member is a villain though. The villains are mostly members looking to climb the ladder higher through questionable means, sadistic scientists who have been driven mad by the experimentation that their job requires (usually gruesome and on human/humanoid subjects) or mercenaries who are abusing their power and even some who are just following orders.

    Then there are politicians on the island my story takes place on, who were either crazy going in and attempting to gain power so they can more easily carry out their misdeeds, or people who were good at first but corrupted by the power.

    There are also typical criminals, like gangsters, drug lords, serial killers, all who have no supernatural abilities, are significantly weaker than their targets usually, and are all making big mistakes.

    There are vampires who are "evil" due to their thirst for blood. Demons who became evil due to being forsaken of any gods and their twisted state. Mages become evil when they begin to take their magical abilities for granted, or were bad people to begin with, and sometimes they go insane while learning magic due to the changes that take place.

    Many characters in my story are actually bad at times. Hell, all of them are. One is amnesiac and was raised from 12 years old in an orphanage. One is possessed by a small army of demons. One is severely brain damaged. And one was disowned for being gay. These kinds of things lead people to less than moral behavior sometimes, or so I suspect.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
    Witchymama likes this.
  18. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I write a kind of fiction where the need for a "villain" isn't very strong, my conflicts, generally, are on another level. But I think of it like this: Villains are basically just a character with a goal that clashes with that of the mc. Whatever it is, he'll have his reasons and you can dig as far into them as you wish. The important thing I guess is not making the reader sympathize too much with the villain so that they start rooting for HIM instead.. :p
     
    Witchymama, Renee J and xanadu like this.
  19. xanadu
    Offline

    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    Cave of Ice
    This is essentially me as well. I don't typically create "villains," in the sense of the mustache-stroking evil-doer. In my projects, the antagonist is simply that--an antagonist. A cheating husband fighting for child custody during a messy divorce, or a best friend who unknowingly begins to take the main character for granted over the course of their time together. Things like that. Though in my last project I did have more of a "bad guy," in a sense.

    I do think it's important for a villain, regardless of how evil or bad he or she is, to have a thorough character arc--perhaps as thorough as the main character's. As said above, a villain is really just a character whose goals clash with the protagonist's. That means she or he has to have real goals, just as the main character does, and those goals need to be well developed. They need to make sense. The villain needs to truly believe in them and follow them, maybe gain a better understanding of them over the course of the story.

    Unlike the above, I don't think it's a problem at all for the reader to sympathize too much with the villain. I don't think it's a problem at all for the reader to root for the villain (unless the protagonist is just weakly developed). Good or evil, the villain is one of the characters in the main spotlight of the story. That means the character needs to work hard to capture the reader's interest. If the reader can get on board with the villain and sympathize, then that's just evidence of a strong, well-developed character. And stories should be full of those!
     
  20. Inks
    Offline

    Inks Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    167
    I do not have villains, but those closest would be the putrid, barbaric, and violent Huden. They have a propensity to torture and eat the flesh of their enemies, and will go out on raiding parties to find new entertainment. They primarily hunt and their numbers are few, but they are apex predators with terrible brutality. Though terribly evil, a raiding party will spare the life of babies and young girls and send a Huden eunuch to the nearest town. These eunuchs, the untouchables of the Huden, will attempt to ransom the child for everything and anything they can get. Merely being in proximity of one is a horrendous assault on the senses since they are ugly as can be, do not bathe, their crude language hurts the ears, and hugging a cactus is preferable to touching their slick bumpy flesh. Nothing at all is redeemable about them. Nothing.
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  21. Australis
    Offline

    Australis Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    26
    In the story I'll have published soon, one of my protagonists commits torture, enslaves a girl, admits to killing her son, uses a mother & baby as bait (they die), and takes delight in the hysterics of others. And she's the good one. She also steals a horse, but that's minor.
    The villain, well he's the protag's enemy.
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  22. Justin Rocket 2
    Offline

    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    Messages:
    1,034
    Likes Received:
    194
    This is actually a bit of a problem for me. My BBEG is a being from myth. Why are Surtur and Ymir evil? Because that's how we interpret their actions.

    That's not a good answer, but everything else I've come up with so far only works if the Eddas are changed, which I don't want to do.
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  23. Kallisto
    Offline

    Kallisto Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2015
    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    87
    Well, my head villain, Ansel saw all the terrible things that were done to people while he was a priest. Mostly, he saw the crimes committed by the church and the noblemen. He supported a full on rebellion against the ruling classes in one of the cities, but when the leader of that rebellion became just as corrupted as the evil masters he sought to overthrow, Ansel ultimate decides that when given power and a choice in how to use it, mankind will just simply choose to use it to inflict as much suffering on others. So he decides that is for him to topple the ruling classes, gain ultimate power and lead mankind into peace. Doesn't matter that his method is inciting a bloody civil war that tears the country apart and ultimately, you guessed it, leads to a lot of suffering. And of course that leads to enslavement of all mankind. But hey, there's no war!
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  24. Daemon Wolf
    Offline

    Daemon Wolf Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2015
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    134
    There is no real one villain but an evil corporation and the reason they are evil is because they are xenophobic power hungry people.
     
    Witchymama likes this.
  25. IlaridaArch
    Offline

    IlaridaArch Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    170
    I actually have no clear villain. Simply people with their ambitious goals.
     
    Witchymama and Greenwood like this.

Share This Page